A year or so ago, GQ put out a piece called “21 Books You Don’t Have To Read”. Now, I understand how these pieces are put together because John C. Dvorak has explained it many times on the No Agenda Show podcast. Here is how it works – Someone from the magazine/blog/newspaper buys lunch and the staff and in this case, some authors, gather together to brainstorm ideas until the article is written. John’s point is, don’t put a lot of credence into the science behind these types of articles. Also, don’t let them get you all riled up. I failed to heed that advice on this horrible dreck which I have already linked to and will now write about. But, I have my reasons, and the facts, to back up my assertions.
First, let me get the less important stuff out of the way – GQ unfortunately highlights a few really good books that I feel everyone should read like Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and The Lord of the Rings series by J. R. R. Tolkien. I love these books as do the thousands of other readers out there who have rated both of these books almost unanimously 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon. I do, however, have to give kudos to the gentlemen’s quarterly groupthink that listed the unredeemable tree-killer that is The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. Yes, it has 4 stars on Amazon, but we all know there is no account for bad taste.
OK, so it has taken me two paragraphs to get to the secondary, but more important fact – GQ listed the Bible as one of the books they don’t believe needs to be read anymore.
The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it. Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced. It is repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned. – GQ, April 19, 2018
This article got a lot of play in the world that is twitter and the media but, much like the contention about the good book, not many people probably read the piece. It was certainly not “the finest thing that man has ever produced”, even by GQ. If you enjoy being outraged, check out the book they recommend people should read instead. You can tell that the gathered “gentlemen” wanted to shock Christians on purpose.
But here is the point, their conclusion may be wrong, but honestly, some of their statements are not.
- The Bible is “very highly rated” – And undisputably the most printed book and arguably the most important book.
- Many Christians “in actuality have not read it” – At least not all of it or even most of it. Lifeway Research has a study that shows that only 20 percent of Americans have read the entire thing, while 68 percent have read less than half of it. The Barna Group has some more optimistic numbers with 61 percent of Evangelicals saying they have read the entire Bible.
- There are “some good parts” – Some of the best data from another Barna Group study shows that the Bible has positively impacted Bible and non-Bible readers alike. “46 percent of Bible users say they show more loving behavior toward others, and one in three (34%) is more generous with their time, energy or financial resources.”
The key here is that, while GQ has some things right, they are completely wrong in their conclusion. The Bible is obviously worth reading. As Lifeway Research points out, 53 percent of Americans say the Bible is worth reading (one or more times), while only 5 percent believe it is not worth reading at all. In complete agreement, The Barna Group says that Six in 10 U.S. adults (59%) believe the message of the Bible has transformed their lives!
That is absolute proof that the our Lord’s words are worth reading. With all of this information and my recent personal positive experience with daily reading and study, I have felt called. My prayer is that what I write will help people read more of and dig deeper into the Bible.
Lifeway lists a few reasons why people don’t read the Bible more often. Over the next few months, I plan to write about some of these reasons. I will work to dispel some myths, generate excitement about reading and give people strategies to develop Bible reading stamina.
I know that if my writing helps people get more into the Word, their experience will absolutely transform lives.